Thule Pack ’n Pedal Commuter Pannier

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Manufacturer Description

An ideal choice for bike commuters, this waterproof pannier features innovative hardware, integrated light pockets and a laptop sleeve.

Features

  • Vanishing hardware system flips away when carried off the bike to provide maximum carrying comfort.
  • Attachment system is easy to use, secure and vibration-free.
  • Exterior translucent pockets allow safety light to be used and stored in one convenient location.
  • Waterproof, roll-top design keeps contents dry.
  • Laptop sleeve holds up to a 15 in computer.
  • Reflective strips increase visibility.
  • Compression straps keep contents securely in place.
  • Integrated grab handle and detachable messenger-style strap allow for multiple carrying options.
  • Universal fit on either side of the bike.
  • Fits best on Thule racks, but will work on virtually any bike rack.
  • Waterproof IPX5 rating
  • 5 year warranty
  • High tenacity TPU coated nylon (PVC Free)
  • Volume – 18 Liters (1098 cu in)
  • Weight – 1.5 kg (3.3 lb)
  • Dimensions – 58.9 cm Tall (23.2 in), 39.9 cm Wide (15.7 in), 14 cm Deep (5.5 in)
  • Retail price – $120

YMMV Review

I am sure most people know of Thule. Thule was established in Sweden way back in 1942. Since then they have become well-known name in car racks. Now skip forward many years. In the last five years, Thule has started to create bags. One of the more recent lines was built for on the bike, and that is why I was intrigued to reach out and set up a review.

Back Hardwear - Click to See Larger
Back Hardwear – Click to See Larger

Testing

I tested the Thule Pack ’n Pedal Commuter Pannier on my commutes. I try to commute by bike every so often and thus need to bring a bunch of stuff into work with me. My commute is 16 miles each way in a wide variety of conditions as I live in Colorado. I did not test it in conjunction with the Thule rack; rather I used my Tubus bike rack with a Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Rack Adapter Bracket.

Shoulder Strap - Click to See Larger
Shoulder Strap – Click to See Larger

Design ★★★½☆

Appearance (10%) ★★★☆☆

Construction (40%) ★★★★☆

Features (25%) ★★★★☆

Sustainability (10%) ★★★☆☆

Weight (15%) ★★½☆☆

First impressions of the Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Commuter Pannier is it looks like you would expect it to. I mean when you think of European design, you think of a clean design with a contemporary look; or at least, I do. I first saw and then tested the black one which I also prefer as it really looks pretty sweet. I know appearance is not that important when it comes to a pannier, but I notice, and I am sure I am not the only one.

Buckle - Click to See Larger
Buckle – Click to See Larger

The pannier seems to be very well made. It uses a high tenacity TPU coated nylon which has a toughness about it. The bag is a combination of this heavy-duty fabric, webbing, and hardware. The back is reinforced for structure with metal on the inside so it will interface with the magnet on the rack. The bottom of the pannier is made of rubber and is bathtub shaped. On the sides, the bag uses reflective fabric for visibility. On the exterior of the bag, there are two pockets. One is translucent for storing your light and allows it still to be seen. The other pocket is a drop-in mesh pocket that is contructed of a heavy duty fabric.

The bag has a roll-top closure for better weather protection. Once closed there is a strap pocket that doubles as small storage and keeps things secure. There is a laptop sleeve on the inside that fits a 15-inch laptop. The pannier comes with a rain cover just in case. It feels pretty water tight, but it comes in useful to keep the bag from getting dirty. Nothing like getting dirty when you are carrying your bag into the office. The other thing the pannier comes with is a strap. There are several attachment points, and handles allow you to carry the bag many different ways.

Heavy Duty Bottom - Click to See Larger
Heavy Duty Bottom – Click to See Larger

As far as the bag goes, I do not have very much information of the actual materials but from what I can tell, they are not sustainable. On the other hand, Thule as a company has focused on five tangible areas. Their focus is on product, energy, water, waste & recycling, and responsible sourcing & logistics. Thule has been making an effort to lower their impact on the environment. As far as companies go, I am impressed by their environmental focus.

Performance ★★★☆☆

Durability (15%) ★★★½☆

Ease of Use (25%) ★★★½☆

Pockets & Storage (30%) ★★½☆☆

Reflectivity (15%) ★★★☆☆

Weather Resistance (15%) ★★★★☆

The pannier has been pretty solid thus far. The bag has had no issues standing up to my daily commute, but I am not too hard on things. Up until now, I have not had any issues with the weather resistance. I must admit that I live in Colorado now so I have not really had to deal with rain like I did in Seattle. Here in Colorado, there have been some days where I got caught in a little snow and have not had any issues with that. You can tell the fabric choices are tough. It has not shown any wear and tear thus far. I do not think there would be any issues in the long run either.

Light Pocket - Click to See Larger
Light Pocket – Click to See Larger

The bag is made to work with Thule’s rack, but can also be used on other racks. To do so you can buy the magnet clip to take advantage of all the features of the bag. It is not required as the pannier will still work without it. What this magnet does is work with the back of the bag to keep it from bouncing as you ride. Compared to other panniers that use a clip, this is a pretty cool way to solve this issue. The clip hardware that hooks to the rack is also really unique. The hooks rotate to open and then close down to lock onto the rack. This is not the most interesting part; the hardware can flip and be concealed in the back of the pannier to get out of the way. It both protects the hardware and also makes it more comfortable to carry the pannier.

Rack Adapter - Click to See Larger
Rack Adapter – Click to See Larger

The pocket structure on the pannier is a little interesting. The main pocket is normal but seems to be a little smaller than I expected it to be. The pockets that were a little odd are the small pocket that is part of the roll-top closure. I had trouble figuring out what to use this pocket for. The outside mesh pocket does not stretch much which I think is a bit of a miss. It is nice to be able to stuff things in on the go from time to time. The translucent pocket is also interesting. It seems to work well, but I like to attach my light to my rack so it did not use it much. Just my preference.

Overall ★★★½☆

Overall the Thule Pack n’ Pedal Commute Pannier is a well-made pannier but does miss in a couple of places.

Hardware Up Close - Click to See Larger
Hardware Up Close – Click to See Larger

I really like the weather resistance and tough materials that the pannier is made of. You can really tell that this is a tough bag. All the materials are so tough that I think they missed it a bit when the outer mesh pocket is not as stretchy. Of course, it is a tradeoff as a material with more stretch would not be as durable. What is really cool about the pannier is the mounting hardware and magnetic solution to bouncing. This is what makes this bag different than anything else I have used. It works well and allows the bag to be carried easier than others I have tested. If you need a commuting pannier, and you do not typically carry too much stuff, then I would recommend this pannier. If you like to carry a lot, then this may not be your bag. That really would be my only reservation. As always, Your Mileage May Vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Durable
  • Excellent Mounting Hardware
  • Weather Resistant
  • Great for Carrying

Cons

  • Volume Smaller than expected
  • Interesting Pocket Layout

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About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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